Premier Rachel Notley along with Kathleen Ganley, minister of Justice and Solicitor General and Brian Mason, minister of Infrastructure were in Red Deer last week to make the official announcement of the City’s new courthouse.
Notley said the new Red Deer Justice Centre will address a prolonged space shortage in the current courthouse to help meet the region’s justice needs.
Since the existing courthouse was built in the 1980s, the City’s population has almost doubled and the surrounding area’s population has also increased substantially.
The new facility will increase the number of courtrooms in Central Alberta from seven to 12 and create a Resolution Services wing.
This section will provide dispute resolution, civil and family mediation, arbitration and other alternatives to court.
There will also be space in the new courthouse for expansion to 16 courtrooms in the future.
“Here in Red Deer, families and community leaders have made it clear – Red Deer needs a new courthouse,” said Notley. “This new Justice Centre will significantly increase the current number of courtrooms serving the area and it will make more services available to Central Albertans through two distinct components – a main courthouse and a Resolution Services wing.”
The Alberta government has allocated $97 million towards the project over the next four years.
Preliminary work is expected to get underway immediately with construction beginning at the end of 2018.
The next step is to secure land and begin design work, which will be used to help plan the construction schedule. Although not official, Red Deer has been keeping land vacant in the downtown core in hopes of a new courthouse. The land is located adjacent to the downtown parkade and used to house the old RCMP detachment.
“Making life better for Albertans means improving access to justice. This new facility is something the community has been requesting for several years and we are proud to fund it,” said Ganley. “This project is part of our government’s investment in the justice system and will help address pressures that have been building for many years.”
Mayor Tara Veer said the City has tirelessly advocated for a new courthouse for the last 10 years.
“We have waited 10 years for this day. We have been actively working with the Alberta government and local stakeholders for a number of years to resolve the critical need for court capacity in Red Deer,” she said. “Community safety is a priority for citizens in Red Deer and this region, and this significant announcement acknowledges the province’s support of this justice need. A new Red Deer Justice Centre, including 12 courtrooms, helps ensure more charges are upheld – an important part of the City’s enforcement and community safety efforts.
“Our community continues to consistently identify safety as the number one priority for our City to address. If we are to be a safe region, if we are to expect the charges laid by our local police force to be upheld, if we are to minimize trauma to children in family court and to victims in criminal court, if we are to be a City of justice for all, expanded courthouse capacity is essential to our enforcement efforts and for our community safety objectives.”